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Forest MacKenzie of Concord: Boys Cross Country Runner of the Season

  • Concord’s Forest MacKenzie approaches the finish line with teammates Eli Boesch-Dining and Ollie Spencer in position to round out second and third place, respectively, during the Division I boys’ cross country championship at Derryfield Park in Manchester on Oct. 28. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Friday, December 15, 2017

He was the Division I king, finishing ahead of the boys’ cross country pack in 16:12.2 at the Division-I championships in Manchester’s Derryfield Park back on Oct. 28. Winning that race would have been the highlight of the season for most runners, but for Forest MacKenzie, the highlight came moments after he crossed the finish line. That’s when the Concord High junior looked back and saw his teammates, Eli Boesch-Dining and Oliver Spencer, following behind him in second and third, respectively.

“The only response I could think of was to laugh and clap. … It’s a moment I’ll never forget, and easily the highlight of my high school career thus far,” MacKenzie said.

With MacKenzie leading the way, Concord won its first boys’ cross country title since 1981. The Crimson Tide’s team total of 28 points was the best score posted at the D-I meet in at least 30 years and blew away second-place Pinkerton Academy (89 points). And the last team to finish 1-2-3 was the 1963 Concord squad, according to Tide Coach Tristan Black-Ingersoll.

Concord also won the Meet of Champions in historic fashion. The Tide clocked an average finishing time of 15:53.92, the best average in MOC history. Again it was MacKenzie leading the way, this time finishing third overall with Boesch-Dining in sixth and Spencer in 10th.

MacKenzie admitted he was a bit “rattled” by not winning the individual title at the MOC, finishing behind two runners, Nashua North’s David Vorbach and Max Ireland, that he had just beaten in the D-I meet a week earlier. But once MacKenzie realized the Tide had once again run away with the team title, finishing with 51 points to the 110 for North, he said, “It feels like we’re on top of the world.”

One week after Meet of Champions, Concord finished fifth at the New England regional meet. Being the fifth-best in New England at anything is pretty good, but MacKenzie and the Tide want more. MacKenzie is an accomplished wrestler (he took third at 138 pounds at the wrestling MOC last year), but he’s quitting wrestling to focus solely on running, and many of his cross country teammates are also becoming one-sport athletes.

“We want to build up the 12-month process,” MacKenzie said. “The best teams in the country do it, and we have to do it, too We want to be a top-10 team in the country next year.”